Category Archives: writing

Getting into someone else’s head is difficult

Greetings, readers. The last couple of mornings I have been working on my writing projects and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be writing again. One of my projects is based on a TV series from the 1970s. Those characters I know quite well; what they would say, what they wouldn’t say, how they would act, etc.

My main project, however, has characters that are pretty much blank slates. The female lead character is based on someone I met in a chat room many room many many years ago. She sent me her picture but that is literally all I have to go on, the rest of her character will be constructed by me. I’ve never tried to get into a female character’s head before. You might say I wrote my play Kimberly, and this is true. But I knew the person I based her on. The whole first draft was basically a carbon copy of a friend from high school. This new project’s female lead has a name and a face. That’s it. I get to decide how tall she is, whether or not she smokes, what her habits are, and how provocative she is. In a way, I have to become this character during writing hours. I was working with this project this morning and I could feel myself begin to think like her and thought to myself, now we are in business. I know I am going to have fun with it.

It’s been years since I have put signs on my front door saying Do not disturb, I’m writing, and I even get angry if I am writing and it is time to go to work. To me those are good signs. If I can go to some cabin near a lake … magically with internet included for research … I would do it and I could probably pump out a great play or film script. I just need to be left alone for a few months. Unfortunately I am not independently wealthy, and besides that is not how the real world works. Moreover, I like my real world job.

I got a sobering dash of reality a few moments ago. Rebecca and I were on the CreateSpace website trying to send an email to get a question answered. As we were going through the automated set-up system, a huge list dropped down with not only my three books for sale but all the stalled, dead, abandoned projects I’ve tried to do since latching on to CreateSpace. Seeing that list made me feel like a failure for a moment. Don’t worry, I’ll bounce back soon. As a matter of fact, now that I know where that list is, I might even go back, choose one of those dead projects, and resurrect it. You never know.

The idea I had for tomorrow’s blog has been put on the back burner, for it requires research and development. It deals with this past Super Bowl. I think you will find it most interesting. I just found out moments ago that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow. So yet again, Rebecca will get the day off and post the entry from home. We will see you right here next Wednesday. Keep those comments coming, enjoy, take care, and as always, happy reading.


My speech recognition software finally came in

Greetings, readers. Every penny that I spent on Nuance Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium voice recognition software was well worth it. It only took fifteen minutes for the program to learn my voice well enough so that I could dictate an email. Most impressive. I think this is going to be the shot in the arm I need to get my writing career going again. I have a couple of ideas, I just have to get them going. I’m going to talk to my boss at work and see if I can’t take a few months off. Walking to buses in the brutal cold and snow and/or ice, is something my handicapped body is not looking forward to. Call my a wimp if you want to, but I think I will ask if I can return in the springtime.

This voice recognition program has a feature that I was not expecting. It will read back to me what I dictated … in my own voice. Rebecca had an overwhelming reaction because it reminded her of something she heard about the late movie critic Roger Ebert, who had mouth cancer and lost the ability to talk. When they added a feature to his typing equipment that used his own voice from previous recordings to read out his words, his wife cried the first time she heard it, as it had been so long since she had heard his voice. I can talk just fine, I just can’t type or write longhand for any length of time.

While I got this software on sale, it wasn’t exactly $9.99, so believe me when I tell you I’m going to make good use of it.

The first project I have in mind to use it for is a book about former sports stadiums that have been demolished and what the land is used for now. The idea hit me last week in the middle of the night. It woke me enough to take a couple of notes about it. That is how I knew it was going to be a good idea. I love sports, classic things such as stadiums, and it is going to be such fun to learn about and report what’s on those sites. Old stadiums have long been an interest of mine, for I have been a sports buff since I was a child. In 2013, I did a top ten list on stadiums that have gone by the wayside, and was interested to see that many of the stadiums on the list are ones I want to research for the new book.

If I can get that voice recognition program to work without much hassle, I think this might be the project that kicks me in the proverbial butt. Cross thy fingers.

On a side note, I finished binge-watching the second part of the third season of Fuller House. A very cute season and already we can see the children growing up. The middle kids are in high school already. Good grief. SPOILER ALERT: Stephanie and boyfriend Jimmy are trying to get pregnant with Kimmy Gibbler as the surrogate. The final scene of the season finale was sweet and touching. With the announcement that Kimmy has baby on board that leads me to believe that there is definitely going to be a fourth season. I already can’t wait.

Okay, there you are up to date with what is going on with me. I am in a heck of a better mood than I was yesterday. It’s now time to go feed Kitty who’s been very good, edit this blog and post it.

Until next week, take care, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

Rebecca and I have been working together for 7 years tomorrow

Greetings, readers. I can’t believe it has been seven years already since Rebecca agreed to be my typist and editor. That job quickly morphed into personal assistant, but that is okay. The main job is writing. After almost seven years together, we have put out over 600 blog entries, three books, and part of a book (written by Rebecca’s husband Darren) based on a play I wrote before we started working together. Oh, and by the way, that book is coming soon.

Yes, we’re very excited about Four’s a Crowd. Although we still have one or two edits to go, I’ve read the project and it is awesome. You’ll love it. Very soon Rebecca is going to begin putting it into the CreateSpace formatted templet, cutting and pasting each chapter in place, and we need to write a book description, before uploading the file to the publisher. Then it will be time to order proofs and we are going to do our final edit right on the pages. Proofs are never for sale, so what the heck, let’s mark them up.

When the book comes out, I’m going to go to Webster’s bookstore across the street and ask the owner, a personal friend of mine, if she would take several copies on consignment and push them. The worst thing she could say is no. I already have a few people from Facebook who I will go out on a limb and say will be guaranteed buyers. I have one phrase for you folks: Spread the word … please.

I’m extremely excited about this project, and Darren, who had lost all hope when things were moving slowly, has renewed enthusiasm as well. I’m not going to set an exact release date, but let’s just put it in the ballpark of January or February of 2018. I think we can do it. Updates as they happen.

Finally, prayers and good wishes go out to those families affected by the California wild fires, and by Hurricane Nate. I don’t know how long those fires will burn, but from what I saw on TV, they have already ruined several wine vineyards. Expect the price of wine from California to skyrocket. Also, an R.I.P and condolences to Tom Petty, a great singer, and his grieving family and friends.

Until tomorrow, have a wonderful day, take care, and happy reading.

When I’m writing I hate the red squiggles

Greetings, readers. Yesterday was a slower day on my writing project than I hoped for but I was working on my character sheets. Two days ago when I was typing I made a number of typos and as usual the spell checker put red squiggles under them. Some people can ignore that; I am not one of those people.

Every time a word is misspelled I must go back and correct it. It’s just a thing with me. What I should do is press on, ignore it, and fix the mistake later. In time when my writing flow is better I am sure I will do this. To aid me as I am trying to get into my flow, I’m going to look for the option to turn the spell checker completely off. I know that option exists. Even though I am only on page 11, I still feel like I am in second gear, where I write everyday, I can see the action in my head, and the words come easily. With yesterday being a not so great writing day, today must be better. I cannot lose my momentum.

Here’s how today is going to go. Rebecca and I will work until 12:45, then it is off to the pharmacy to get a few items, after that I will meet Traci for a quick snack, and then I will begin my work. I’ll need to stop around 6pm, because I am calling bingo tonight at 7:00. I’ll probably get back from bingo about 9:00 and then I’ll read and watch TV to relax and wind down. I find that if I’ve worked hard on my book I enjoy my off time that much more.

Our area is once again in the national news. Though I will not go into that much detail, I was very angry to see that the son of Jerry Sandusky was charged with a sex crime similar to what the Penn State’s former defensive coordinator was convicted of. Here we go again. More accusations, more trials, and another black eye for Penn State. I’m just tired of it now.

Finally, as I approach my 600th blog entry, which will be posted sometime in mid-March, I wish to ask if you, my readers, have any topic you would like me to cover. If I get a good list from folks, I will choose one and blog about it for the 600th entry.

That’s all the news for today. Until next Wednesday, have a fantastic weekend, take care, and, as always, happy reading.

Mini snow storm over and novel’s chapter two is going well

Greetings, readers. I woke up to roughly 3 inches or so of snow on the ground. It was no surprise. Everyone knew it was coming, the question was just how much. We were in the 3 to 6 inch range, but I think we got the smaller amount of what was predicted.

Snow is pretty when it first comes down, but after the cars roll around in it and make it black, it is disgusting. Also, with my bad balance, slush and ice are not my friends.  When there is any amount of snow that is more than a dusting, I stay inside. It’s just not worth me breaking a leg over. Anything I need at the store, I can get the night before or the day after.

It is late morning as I am using my speech recognition program to dictate this entry, and the snow has already stopped. Now it is just cold and slippery. After I’m done dictating, I shall save this entry to draft and get it ready for Rebecca to edit. I expect that she will post it sometime in the mid to late afternoon.

As far as my new writing project goes, oh boy, am I off to a hot start. Today is a little slower than yesterday as far as production, but it’s still early. I plan to work until at least two or three this afternoon. With over 2,100 words so far, it is certainly my best start in years. What do you know, writing is fun again. Yay! 🙂

I am going to continue to plug away at it until the ideas don’t come anymore. Hopefully, that won’t be for a very long time. I’ve got a great idea for this novel. The more I write, the more excited I get about the project. I shall keep you all up to date in the coming weeks.

Until next week, have a great weekend, be safe if you’re in the snow, and happy reading.

Novel underway and coming along nicely

Greetings, readers. For the first time in many years I am absolutely psyched about a project, other than the blog or one of my performances. In the last two days I have written six pages and 2,100 + words. About a month ago I had an idea for a novel and I just decided to go for it. I do understand that six pages does not usually equal a chapter, but I got to a good stopping point, and it is still a first draft. The first draft is what I call creating the skeleton. Once I have the skeleton in place, I can add the muscles and tendons, the skin, and the features. In other words, I can flesh it out, no pun intended.

Without going into too much detail and ruin anything, it is a paranormal story. I am quite intrigued by that phenomenon. Unfortunately, readers, I am going to keep details to myself for now. I shall share little tidbits as the book progresses. As some of you may know, beginnings of my projects have always been my bugaboos. If I can just pop it into second gear, I’ve got a chance. And yesterday, for the first time in years, I felt that gear click in.

Another huge thing that I did which I believe will be a major plus, was to use my computer calendar to set up what I call work shifts. Just as if I was going to work at a store or café, I set up blocks of time to put my butt in the chair and type. So far so good. Yesterday I was supposed to work until 2pm – okay, okay, I conked out at 12:45, but for me that was a good start. It is going to take a while for me to build up writing stamina but it will happen.

Most writers write an outline and know exactly where their writing project will go next. I don’t. Which is probably why I have failed so much. I’ve always been the kind of person to take a story to a certain point in my mind, write it down, and then see where the story goes next. Although it is only the first six pages in the first draft, I am getting the sense that my characters are a bit flat. When I wrote my play Kimberly, poor Lyle Detmore never did come to life, until Rebecca’s husband Darren turned the project into a novel. Now there is a writer for you. This time I have hope that the editing process down the road will help me with this problem.

The photographs from my latest show, which was on December 2, 2016, are now up on the Performance Pictures page. I proposed to Traci in between the sets, and I have included a couple of pictures with the two of us. Please feel free to check them out.

On a side note, condolences go out to the family of the Penn State student who passed away the other day at one of the fraternities. It was a horrible tragedy. No parent should have to bury their child.

Well, there is today’s blog entry. I will working on my writing project today from 2pm to 5pm. Wish me luck that the engine keeps running. I will put a new blog entry up tomorrow, I am taking a personal day to write more on my story and Rebecca will edit the blog entry from home and post it.

Until then, have a great day, take care, and happy reading.

Every time I see a writer

Greetings, readers. Many times when I go to Panera café I see a gentleman who is a hard-core writer. His name is Steve, last name unknown. He has a ritual kind of like mine. He selects his favorite table, purchases his food, gets out his paper and pen, and starts to write. Whether he is taking notes, working on a story, or just doing a writing exercise, I have no idea. My point is that he writes. That’s the difference between Steve and I.

Here’s what I do. I select my favorite table, get my food, open my computer, check my emails, listen to music, chat on the phone, you get the idea. I do anything but write. At 51 years old, I’m almost ashamed to call myself a writer. Yes, I’ve written three books and a play, so I suppose that qualifies me as an author. I so desperately want more. The problem is at the current moment my body and brain are not quite cooperating. I’m going to look into computer software that allows me to speak into a microphone and the program will type what I say. My laptop has a speech recognition program but it has many flaws. I have difficulty getting into any flow. A trip to Best Buy will be forthcoming.

On today’s schedule is this: After the blog entry is done, Rebecca and I will fill out paperwork for an upcoming foot doctor’s visit, then it is monthly office cleaning day. After Rebecca leaves, I might even run the vacuum, ha ha. This afternoon I have a bank run to make and I must stop at the pharmacy. This has the potential to be an expensive day; I must begin to pay off my deductible for the new insurance year. Finally, tonight I will call bingo. I missed my last turn so I promised the gang that I will call the next two Thursday evenings. We all have to do our share.

What I am going to do this weekend is concentrate – perhaps even writing it down – on making a daily schedule that always includes writing, even if that means taking out such things as flight simulation, Facebook chatting, or YouTube watching. I’ve said it before but every day the feeling gets worse. I must either be a serious writer soon, or pull the plug and get a full-time job somewhere.

On a sad note, a very special RIP to the legendary actress and dancer Mary Tyler Moore, 1936-2017, who passed away yesterday. She will be greatly missed.

Next week Rebecca and I will be back with you with two more exciting blog entries. So take care, have a great weekend, and as always, happy reading.

A major writing idea has finally hit me

Greetings, readers. After pondering for many weeks about what personal writing project I will do, I came to a conclusion.  I was looking at an old proof copy of Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, the book with blog entries from my first of being a blogger. I realized one big mistake I made. I was charging people money to read what they could read on my site for free, with very little new content.

Last night the idea hit me: Since I love blogging, and I dare say I am fairly good at it, why not write blog entries exclusively for the new book? Does this mean I will give up writing in this space? Absolutely not. Rebecca and I will continue to blog here on WordPress on Wednesdays and Thursdays. And I/we will also create blog entries for the new book, tentatively titled Greetings, Readers 2 (subtitle to come later.)

This is the first that Rebecca has heard of the idea and I don’t know what she thinks of it. I have been told by a number of people to go with my strengths. We have been blogging for 5 years come December and we now have 550 entries. If I could create between 60 and 80 extra entries, exclusively for the book, that might be the ticket.

On a short side note, I already know what topic I will blog about tomorrow. I’ve been watching very bad B movies on YouTube recently and I will share my experiences about some of them with you tomorrow.

Please, readers, if you wish to leave a comment, suggestion, or a thumbs up or down, about my writing project idea, please do so in the comment section or on Facebook. If there is a topic you want to see me cover, here or in a new book, let me know.

Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

I’m already challenged by my Amish writing project

Greetings, readers. My personal writing project about the Amish took a kick in the belly yesterday when I discovered a TV series on YouTube dealing with exactly what I wanted to write about. I must learn to not let that deter me. I need to just write what I am going to write, tell my story, and worry about all other details later. If it is meant to work out, it will.

I was going to keep this a secret, but my idea was to tell a story about an Amish family which is dealing with either a haunting or a poltergeist. I was so proud of myself, I thought I had come up with something original. Ha ha. I discovered a series called Amish Haunting and thought, so much for my idea. What to do, what to do. I decided not to let that deter me. If I am going to be a writer, I have to get over or get around the first huddle, instead of stopping in front of it.

I could barely sleep last night thinking about how I will gather the knowledge needed to do my project. A place that is relatively close to where I live is called the Amish Village. It is in Lancaster, PA. I’m seriously considering renting a Zipcar next Friday and taking Traci for a day trip. Yes, it would be an expense, but it might be worth it to have my questions answered by an actual Amish person. My big question is, would they allow a paranormal team with their high-tech equipment to come into their home to investigate? Another question is, what is the usual response from the Amish community and church to paranormal activity?

As usual when I begin writing projects, I can’t seem to get them going. I always jump ahead of myself and either see problems that are still down the line, or I’m not certain how to proceed if an issue crops up. I’m very good at writing the beginnings, and what I want the cover to look like, but not so good at writing the book. I vow to change that.

I shall keep next Friday open in case I do decide to take that day trip. If nothing else it will be fun and educational. If I hit pay dirt I shall have the answers I seek. I must be prepared, however, to understand if the Amish don’t wish to speak about such things.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a fantastic weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

My short story writing plans for tomorrow

Greetings, readers. With my creative juices flowing, I’m going to write the first draft of tomorrow’s top ten list either tonight or early tomorrow morning. This will leave Rebecca and me more time to work on my new writing exercise. I have decided to prime the pump, as Rebecca would say, and dictate to her very short stories.

The inspiration for this happened by chance. While listening to my Spotify music provider, I discovered that along with many different types of music, there is also a spoken word category. There I found everything from novels to the shortest of short stories. After listening to a couple of short stories read aloud, I dreamt what it would feel like to have one of my short stories read by these wonderful voices. So tomorrow I’m going to have three or four general topics written down on a piece of paper. For instance, the day at the beach, or a romantic interlude at a cabin. I’m just going to begin dictating from a good starting point, work the story, bring it to a climax, and have a cheerful conclusion. At least, we’ll be writing again.

Yes, I do call the blog entries writing, but I want to get my brain more engaged and have some works which at some point could be compiled in a book.

I talked to Rebecca about this briefly yesterday and I think she likes the idea. So please readers, wish us luck.

Until tomorrow, have a great day, be careful in the snow, take care and happy reading.